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Arizona Cardinals vs. 49ers: Injury Update and More

  • The biggest concern heading into this Sunday for the Arizona Cardinals has to be the injury situation, especially at the nose. Gabe Watson is already out, although he did practice for the first time this offseason, yesterday (on a limited basis). Alan Branch hasn't practiced this week at all and his status for the game isn't looking good. If he can't go on Sunday, Bryan Robinson will start and Kenny Iwebema will be the backup. That's not a great combination at nose tackle and if that's the case, I'd expect to see more four-man fronts than normal this week. Ben Patrick and Jerame Tuman are both listed on the injury report and both have been limited in practice recently. They should still play in the game but Pope will likely be the focal point of the tight end passing game.
  • Kurt Warner's been working on ball security in an effort to cut down on his fumbling problem. Turnovers has always been a problem for the prolific veteran and while wearing gloves have helped cut down on fumbles, the coaching staff would like him to continue to improve on his fumbles and cut down on interceptions. Say what you want about the 37 year old vet but if he's putting up the same numbers without turning the ball over as much, it's a scary proposition for opposing teams. The coaching staff is also working with Darnell Dockett in a effort cut down on the useless penalties that he tends to collect. He's acknowledged that he needs to play 'smarter' but he also plays with a lot of aggression and emotion so it's a delicate balance.
  • The Cardinals defense is facing some unfamiliar faces considering they're playing such a familiar opponent. No I'm not talking about Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson or Mike Martz, all of whom the Cardinals are very familiar with, but starting quarterback JT O'Sullivan is a different story. He's playing for his eighth team in just six seasons but he's in the same offense for the second consecutive season and will be making the first start of his NFL career. The Cardinals have seen Mike Martz turn no-name quarterbacks into NFL stars before and they'll be the first test for 29 year old JT O'Sullivan.
  • Last but certainly not least, the Cardinals seem anxious to take the field and get the bitter taste of last season out of their mouth. Considering that they finished the season 8-8 but lost twice to the 5-11 Niners, who can blame them? With a new season and expectations at an all-time high, they need to get out of the gates quickly and they should have every opportunity against a team with a first time starter and a new offensive system. It's also worth remembering that these teams have swept each other each of the past four seasons so a win this Sunday could also be an indication of another win down the road.